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OBJECTIVES

After studying Chapter 8, the reader should be able to:


1. Prepare for ASE Electrical/Electronic Systems (A6)
certification test content area A (General
Electrical/Electronic System Diagnosis).
2. Explain how to set a digital meter to read voltage,
resistance, and current.
3. Explain meter terms and ratings.
4. Interpret meter readings and compare to factory
specifications.
5. Discuss how to properly and safely use meters.
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TEST LIGHTS
A test light is simply a
light bulb with a probe
and a ground wire
attached.

FIGURE 8-1 A 12-volt test light is


attached to a good ground while
probing for power.

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TEST LIGHTS

FIGURE 8-2 A test light can be used to locate an


open in a circuit. Note that the test light is grounded
at a different location than the circuit itself.

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TEST LIGHTS
Continuity Test Lights
A continuity light
illuminates whenever it
is connected to both
ends of a wire that has
continuity or is not
broken.

FIGURE 8-3 Self-powered test lights contain a battery, clamp,


and probe. This type of test light should not be used on any
computer-controlled circuits because the applied voltage can
damage delicate electronic components or circuits.
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TEST LIGHTS
LED Test Lights
An LED test light uses
an LED instead of a
standard automotive
bulb for a visual
indication of voltage.

FIGURE 8-4 High-impedance test light. An LED test light can be easily made using lowcost components and an old ink pen. With the 470 ohm resistor in series with the LED,
this tester only draws 0.025 ampere (25 milliamperes) from the circuit being tested. This
low current draw helps assure the technician that the circuit or component being tested
will not be damaged by excessive current flow.
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TEST LIGHTS
Logic Probe
A logic probe is an
electronic device that
lights up a red (usually)
LED if the probe is
touched to battery
voltage.

FIGURE 8-5 A logic probe connected to the vehicle


battery and relay used to check for power, ground, or
a pulse.
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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Digital multimeter (DMM) and digital voltohmmilliammeter (DVOM) are terms
commonly used for electronic highimpedance test meters.

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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
FIGURE 8-6 Typical digital
multimeter. The black meter lead
always is placed in the COM
terminal. Except when measuring
the current in amperes, the red
meter test lead remains in the V
terminal.

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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS

FIGURE 8-7 Common abbreviations used on the display face of many


digital multimeters. (Courtesy of Fluke Corporation)

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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS

FIGURE 8-8 A summary chart indicating what measurement type may be used to test which
vehicle system. (Courtesy of Fluke Corporation)
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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Voltage
A voltmeter measures the pressure or
potential of electricity in units of volts.
A voltmeter is connected to a circuit in
parallel.

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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Voltage

FIGURE 8-9 A typical autoranging digital multimeter automatically selects the proper scale to read
the voltage being tested. The scale selected is usually displayed on the meter face. (a) Note that the
display indicates 4, meaning that this range can read up to 4 volts. (b) The range is now set to the
40 volt scale, meaning that the meter can read up to 40 volts on the scale. Any reading above this
level will cause the meter to reset to a higher scale. If not set on autoranging, the meter display
would indicate OL if a reading exceeds the limit of the scale selected. (Courtesy of Fluke
Corporation)
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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Voltage

FIGURE 8-10 Typical digital multimeter (DMM) set to read DC volts.


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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Resistance
An ohmmeter measures the resistance in
ohms of a component or circuit section when
no current is flowing through the circuit.

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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Resistance

FIGURE 8-11 Using a digital multimeter set


to read ohms () to test this light bulb. The
meter reads the resistance of the filament.

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FIGURE 8-12 Typical digital multimeter


showing OL (over limit) on the readout with
the ohms () unit selected. This usually means
that the unit being measured is open (infinity
resistance) and has no continuity.
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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Resistance

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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Resistance

FIGURE 8-13 Many digital multimeters can have the display indicate zero to compensate for test lead
resistance.(1) Connect leads in the Vand COM meter terminals.(2) Select the scale.(3) Touch the two meter
leads together.(4) Push the zero or relative button on the meter.(5) The meter display will now indicate
zero ohms of resistance. (Courtesy of Fluke Corporation)
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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Amperes
An ammeter measures the flow of current
through a complete circuit in units of
amperes.

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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Amperes

FIGURE 8-14 In this digital multimeter set to read DC amperes, note that the red lead is
placed in the far left-hand socket of the meter. The meter is displaying the current flow
(4.18A) through the electric fuel pump on this General Motors 3800 V6 engine.
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DIGITAL MULTIMETERS
Measuring Amperes

FIGURE 8-15 An inductive ammeter clamp is used with all starting and
charging testers to measure the current flow through the battery cables.

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AC/DC CLAMP-ON DIGITAL MULTIMETER


An AC/DC clamp-on digital multimeter
(DMM) is a useful meter for automotive
diagnostic work and uses a Halleffect sensor
to measure current.

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AC/DC CLAMP-ON DIGITAL MULTIMETER

FIGURE 8-16 A typical mini clamp-on-type digital


multimeter. This meter is capable of measuring
alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC)
without
requiring that the circuit be disconnected to install the
meter in series. The jaws are simply placed over the
wire and current flow through the circuit is displayed.

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FIGURE 8-17 An AC and DC current clamp


such as the one shown can be used with a
regular digital multimeter. The amp probe
contains a separate battery and electronic
circuit that converts the amperage reading
into a millivolt (mV) signal.
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FUSE YOUR METER LEADS!

FIGURE 8-18 Note the blade-type fuse holder soldered in series with one
of the meter leads. A 10 amp fuse helps protect the internal meter fuse (if
equipped) and the meter itself from damage that might result from excessive
current flow if accidentally used incorrectly.

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ELECTRICAL UNIT PREFIXES


Electrical units are measured in numbers such as
12 volts, 150 amperes, and 470 ohms.
Kilo (k) means 1,000.
If the value is over 1 million (1,000,000), then the
prefix mega (M) is often used.
Small units of measure expressed in 1/1,000 are
prefixed by milli (m).
The micro unit is represented by the Greek letter
mu ().
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OL DOES NOT MEAN THE METER IS READING NOTHING

FIGURE 8-19 A summary of the test meter hookup.


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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS


Getting to know and use a digital meter takes
time and practice.
Select the proper unit of electricity for what is
being measured.
Place the meter leads into the proper input
terminals.
Measure the component being tested.
Interpret the reading.

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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS

FIGURE 8-20 Always look at the meter display when a measurement is being made,
especially if using an autoranging meter. (Courtesy of Fluke Corporation)

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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS


RMS versus Average
Alternating current voltage waveforms can be
true sinusoidal or nonsinusoidal.
A true sine wave pattern measurement will be the
same for both root-mean-square (RMS) and
average reading meters.

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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS


RMS versus Average

FIGURE 8-21 When reading AC voltage signals, a true RMS meter (such as a Fluke 87)
provides a different reading than an average responding meter (such as Fluke 88).The only
place this difference is important is when a reading is to be compared with a specification.
(Courtesy of Fluke Corporation)
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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS


Resolution, Digits, and Counts
Meter resolution refers to how small or fine
a measurement the meter can make.
The terms digits and counts are used to
describe a meters resolution.
DMMs are grouped by the number of counts or
digits they display.

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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS


Resolution, Digits, and Counts

FIGURE 8-22 This meter display shows 052.2 AC volts. Notice that the zero beside the 5
indicates that the meter can read over 100 volts AC with a resolution of 0.1 volt.
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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS


Accuracy
Meter accuracy is the largest allowable error
that will occur under specific operating
conditions.
Accuracy for a DMM is usually expressed as
a percent of reading.
An accuracy of 1% of reading means that for a
displayed reading of 100.0 V, the actual value of
the voltage could be anywhere between 99.0 V to
101.0 V.
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HOW TO READ DIGITAL METERS


Accuracy

Unacceptable 1.00%
Okay 0.50% (1/2%)
Good 0.25% (1/4%)
Excellent 0.10% (1/10%)

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METER USAGE ON HYBRID ELECTRIC


VEHICLES
Many hybrid electric vehicles use system
voltage as high as 650 volts DC.
These categories are ratings for overvoltage
protection and are rated CAT I, CAT II, CAT
III, and CAT IV.

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METER USAGE ON HYBRID ELECTRIC


VEHICLES

FIGURE 8-23 Be sure to only use a


meter that is CAT III rated when
taking electrical voltage measurements
on a hybrid vehicle.

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FIGURE 8-24 Always use meter leads that


are CAT III rated on a meter that is also
CAT III rated to maintain the protection
needed when working on hybrid vehicles.

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 1


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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DIGITAL METER USAGE 2


cont

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SUMMARY
1.

Digital multimeter (DMM) and digital volt-ohmmilliammeter (DVOM) are


terms commonly used for electronic high-impedance test meters.

2.

Use of a high-impedance digital meter is required on any computerrelated circuit or component.

3.

Ammeters measure current and must be connected in series in the


circuit.

4.

Voltmeters measure voltage and are connected in parallel.

5.

Ohmmeters measure resistance of a component and must be connected


in parallel, with the circuit or component disconnected from power.

6.

Logic probes can indicate the presence of ground, as well as power.


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REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Explain why most digital meters are called
high-impedance meters.
2. Describe how an ammeter should be
connected to an electrical circuit.
3. Explain why an ohmmeter must be
connected to a disconnected circuit or
component.
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CHAPTER QUIZ
1. Inductive ammeters work because of what
principle?
a) Magic
b) Electrostatic electricity
c) A magnetic field surrounds any wire carrying a
current
d) Voltage drop as it flows through a conductor

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CHAPTER QUIZ
2. A meter used to measure amperes is called
a(n) _____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

Amp meter
Ampmeter
Ammeter
Coulomb meter

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CHAPTER QUIZ
3. A voltmeter should be connected to the
circuit being tested _____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

In series
In parallel
Only when no power is flowing
Both a and c

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CHAPTER QUIZ
4. An ohmmeter should be connected to the
circuit being tested _____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

In series
In parallel
Only when no power is flowing
Both b and c

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CHAPTER QUIZ
5. A high-impedance meter _____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

Measures a high amount of current flow


Measures a high amount of resistance
Can measure a high voltage
Has a high internal resistance

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CHAPTER QUIZ
6. A meter is set to read DC volts on the 4 volt
scale. The meter leads are connected at a
12 volt battery. The display will read _____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

0.00
OL
12 V
0.012 V

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CHAPTER QUIZ
7. What could happen if the meter leads were
connected to thepositive and negative
terminals of the battery while the meter and
leads were set to read amperes?
a) Could blow an internal fuse or damage the
meter
b) Would read volts instead of amperes
c) Would display OL
d) Would display 0.00
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CHAPTER QUIZ
8. The highest amount of resistance that can
be read by the meter set to the 2 k scale is
_____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

2,000 ohms
200 ohms
200 k (200,000 ohms)
20,000,000 ohms

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CHAPTER QUIZ
9. If a digital meter face shows 0.93 when set
to read k, the reading means _____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

93 ohms
930 ohms
9,300 ohms
93,000 ohms

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CHAPTER QUIZ
10. A reading of 432 shows on the face of the
meter set to the millivolt scale. The reading
means _____.
a)
b)
c)
d)

0.432 volt
4.32 volts
43.2 volts
4,320 volts

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END

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